After being plagued with performance issues running Typo (the blog software on which this blog currently runs) on Dreamhost, I decided it was time to give in and get a VPS once again. I was previously with Linode.com (they have a great control panel where you can drop in the distro you want - still have screenshots somewhere for an unpublished post), and then JVDS (good hosting, usually quick replies to my support tickets, but slow to push out a VPS control panel they've been promising), running Gentoo on both VPSs. Right now, I'm on a shared hosting plan with Dreamhost.
Well, Dreamhost has been good to me - I got so many referral credits from them that they paid for my subscription many times over after I posted about their $0.77/month offer. Unfortunately, Typo seems to be quite a monster (compared to Wordpress), and database access is purportedly (and observably) slow on Dreamhost. Still, Dreamhost is a great host for shared hosting, I'm sticking with them for delivering more static content. A VPS just makes sense now that I've been tinkering more with Ruby on Rails, plus which geek wouldn't admit it just feels more right to be in full control of your server (well, it's root on a virtual machine, but still root).
This time around, I chose Rimuhosting, a New Zealand-based hosting company (servers are US-based, of course), and here's why (I did some research once again on WebHostingTalk and asked some people their experiences with their webhosts):
- Fairly affordable prices - I got their cheapest MiroVPS1 plan, which goes for $19.95/month and get 30GB of transfer and 96MB of RAM (which could be a problem, but upgrading seems easy enough anyway from what they say on their site). Comparing to several other VPS hosts like unixshell, Tektonic.net, ServerAxis, their plans are somewhat mid-range.
- Their reputation is great. Yup, I've heard and read only good things about them, something that's quite hard to find in the world of web hosting. We use them at work to setup servers sometimes too.
- Seems to be run by competent people - they have a bliki (blog + wiki) with some nice posts. The one that really caught my eye is the one on their Ruby on Rails hosting stack. Not that I'd use it since I'm on Ubuntu, but it shows that the folks at Rimuhosting are up-to-date.
- They run Xen, which Deepak, among others, tells me is the most efficient server virtualization software. Yeah, whatever, score one for statistics (and lies).
- Support is reasonably fast - got replies to my pre-sales queries reasonably fast (more than a few hours, but it wasn't during working hours anyway). Of course, I'll have to see how it goes now that I'm a real customer.
- A simple web-based control panel where I can reboot the VPS. It's no Virtuozzo Power Panels, but it's enough. JVDS didn't have one and it started to get old sending support tickets to do a reboot.
- They don't support Gentoo, my Linux distro of choice. Only RHEL, Ubuntu, Debian and Fedora Core are supported. I went with Ubuntu, not having much experience with it (excluding a brief affair with Debian). I was wary of this at first, but my fears of bungling around with an unfamiliar distro have vanished after I saw how easy it is to install stuff with apt-get, and things are not placed in weird places in the filesystem hierarchy. I think I could get used to it, this "not compiling everything that moves" idea ;).
- ServerAxis supports Gentoo, and offers much better "value for money", except that their lowest priced plan is much higher ($30). But you get 512MB RAM, 200GB RAM, and 5 IP addresses... Too bad I'd rather pay out of my PayPal funds.
Well, less blogging, more server migration. Actually the application installs are mostly done. I've never had apt-get play so nice back when I was experimenting with Debian - just